Film buffs, and especially fans of American film noir, will certainly have heard of director Jules Dassin’s remarkable 1948 film The Naked City, in which actor Barry Fitzgerald plays a veteran Irish police detective in New York. The film is best-known for its line, “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them,” (later used in a popular TV show).
Less known, perhaps, is the fact that several important Jewish actors appear in uncredited small roles in the film. Yiddish stage and screen actors Celia Adler and Molly Picon are the manager of a dress shop and operator of a beverage stall respectively. David Opatoshu and Nehemiah Persoff also appear briefly in the film – it was Persoff’s first screen appearance.
Additionally, the film was said to have been inspired by a 1945 book of photographs titled Naked City by famed New York crime photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) and was based on a story by Marvin Wald. Producer Mark Hellinger, who narrated, was a high-powered journalist and screenwriter who died before the film was released. The film won Academy Awards for cinematography and editing.
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Austrian Composers: Violinist Zachary Ebin and pianist Maria Dolnycky perform From Vienna to Hollywood: Music of Austrian Composers, featuring the music of Mozart, Schubert, Pleyel, Korngold and Kreisler. Sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum. $20, $15. KUMF Art Gallery, 2118-A Bloor St. W., Suite 204 (east of Runnymede). Sunday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m. 416-621-9287, www.zacharyebin.com
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Friends of Yiddish: Violinist Michael Ziskind and singer Arkadi Tulchinski perform “hartsike lider” (heartfelt songs) at FOY’s A Zemerl in Vinter concert. $5; FOY members free. Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave., between Finch and Sheppard. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m. Please RSVP by Feb. 6. 416-736-8073 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Children & Jewish Lit: Kidlit!, a Jewish literary festival for children, offers children a “day of fun to celebrate the rich universe of children’s Jewish literature.” Activities include a make-your-own-book station, writing workshops, authors’ readings, storytelling and more. Presented by the Koffler Centre of the Arts and Prosserman JCC. 4588 Bathurst St., Family Day, Monday, Feb. 17, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration and tickets, kofflerarts.org or prossermanjcc.com, 416-638-1881.
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• Civic Light-Opera Company presents Some Enchanted Evening, featuring the Broadway and Hollywood work of Rodgers & Hammerstein – Oklahoma!, Carousel, State Fair, South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, The Sound of Music and others. Tickets $28. Fairview Library Theatre, Feb. 12 to 23. www.musictheatretoronto.com, 416-755-1717
• Encore Entertainment’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour continues at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., to Feb. 9. 1-855-985-2787, www.encoreshows.com
• Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre presents Handle With Care, a romantic comedy by Jason Odell Williams. Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre, Feb. 20 to March 2. $48 to $19. www.teatrontheatre.com
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Arts in Brief
• Host Gloria Valentine interviews Lily Poritz Miller, author of the novels In A Pale Blue Light and The Newcomers. Rogers TV (Cable 10), Thursday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m.
• Jazz pianist Mark Eisenman and trio are at the Jazz Bistro, Feb. 6, 7 and 8, and pianist-vocalist Fern Lindzon and jazz trio perform there Feb. 11. 251 Victoria St. Reservations, 416-363-5299.
• Shlomo Schwartzberg continues his series on film director Steven Spielberg with a look at the films Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Amistad. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, Feb. 10, 7 to 9 p.m. $11.25 drop-in, students $6. 416-924-6211, ext. 606
• Toronto Jewish Film Society presents Max Minsky and Me, “one of the few recent movies depicting the travails of Germany’s reborn Jewish community.” In German with English subtitles. $15, $10. In honour of Family Day, young people 10 to 18 are admitted free with accompanying adults. Miles Nadal JCC, Al Green Theatre, Sunday, Feb. 16, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Box office opens one hour before screening times. 416-924-6211, ext. 606
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At the Galleries
• The Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art presents The Absent Present, an exhibit of three video works and a sculpture by Sylvia Safdie. Shot during the artist’s first visit to Auschwitz, the videos focus on natural phenomena: the uncharacteristically heavy rainfalls at the time of her visit. Opens Thursday, Feb. 6, 401 Richmond St. W., Suite 124. www.prefix.ca, 416-591-0357
• Harrisa, Honey & Hyssop, a photography exhibit by Nelli Sheffer, examines the origins of North African foods that tantalize the Israeli palate. Miles Nadal JCC Gallery to Feb. 24.